Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cake Decorating!!

Well folks, last night was my first cake decorating class. I must admit, I have mixed feelings. For the most part, I am so excited about it all!! Looking through the Course 1 book and seeing what all I can do, plus all the little tricks our instructor, Linda, already taught us has me itching to go bake a cake right now! However, I did have a few disappointments. First, we didn't get to really do anything the first night except watch...and realize that I need to start collecting Michael's coupons. We just need to buy a bunch more stuff than I was banking on. It will all be great to have but I'm really starting to wonder where I'm gonna store all these nifty tools. Hmmm. Third, and this one is totally my own fault, I got "courses" and "classes" confused when looking into signing up. Turns out I need to sign up for 3 or 4 different 4 week courses to learn everything I thought I would be learning just in September. Each "course" has 4 "classes" that cover all the topics listed for that that clear as mud to you too? I'm hoping I wasn't alone on this one.

But I promise not to be "Debbie Downer" this whole post (whom whom) cause mainly I'm just super excited about it all! So let's see what I can tell you about. First, I'm taking official Wilton Method Cake Decorating Classes at Michael's. Our class is HUGE! Apparently there were only 8 of us signed up (still a large class according to our instructor) but then 8 more signed up Sunday and Monday and we were suddenly up to 16. One didn't show up, three got up and left about 45 minutes into the class (I don't know if they got overwhelmed or were just mad there wasn't room for them at the table...who knows) so now we're down to an even dozen. Hopefully next week when we're actually decorating there will be enough room.

So, this week, we learned some tips and tricks to baking a nice, iceable (did I just make up a word?) cake. Such tips include things like allowing the cake to cool completely before trying to ice (duh) AND flipping the cake over and icing the bottom! Who knew?! This drastically reduces the amount of crumbs you get in the icing...a problem I ALWAYS have. Next, she showed us all kinds of tools like this nifty cake leveler which you can use to level out a lumpy cake top (which remember, is actually going to be the bottom!) OR it can split your cake in half, allowing you to add filling!!!

Speaking of cake filling, Linda used a single serve pudding cup (chocolate...yumm) to fill her 8" round, 3" deep yellow cake last night. That's one very easy option but you can also use icing of any flavor or fruit preserves (or several pudding cups...heehee!) to fill your tasty treat. I have my eye on some raspberry preserves for my first cake next week...oh buddy!

And how do they get the icing so smooth?! Hint: you don't have to use fondant to get a nice smooth look to your icing. Spread your buttercream icing over the cake and wait for it to be dry to the touch, you don't want it tacky! Then lay a sheet of wax paper over the cake and use a spatula to help smooth it. I'll try to take pictures when I do it for the first time...I know my mouth was hanging wide open when she did this. Why didn't I think of that?! Oh and if you're not a fan of typical buttercream icing, did you know you can add vanilla or almond extract to change the flavor? I sure didn't. Just make sure you use clear extracts so your icing doesn't end up looking kind of funky from using dark extracts. Wilton makes some terrific clear extracts you can try. Something else about icing...we can either make our own from scratch using the Wilton recipe (which would make me feel kind of guilty giving out on the blog...ah morals!) or you can buy Wilton premade icing for quick and easy icing you know you can trust to give you a perfect finish.

Wow I really have a lot to tell you about icing...I guess that makes sense since that's what I'll be using to do all the decorating! :) Decorating takes different consistencies of icing for different tasks. There are three consistencies to work with: stiff icing is for making roses or other flowers or decorations that have to stand up off the cake on their own; medium icing is for stars, piping, borders, and flowers with petals that lie flat on the cake; thin icing is used for icing the cake, writing, vines, and leaves. Whew...had to consult my official Wilton book to make sure I got all that right. Guess I have some studying to do this weekend!

Next week we get to start decorating...that is, if I don't make a practice cake this weekend! Stay tuned to hear more about it as I destroy, er, decorate round cakes, cupcakes, character cakes, and more!! Maybe if you're lucky (and you work or live with me) you'll get to benefit from some of my creations...we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime....I'll be searching through the grocery ads for sales on cake mixes cause I think I'm gonna need quite a few over the next few weeks. Good for my hubby and his sweet tooth, bad for me getting on the bathroom scale. Oh well. :)


  1. Wow, I didn't know half of this stuff (and it seems so simple). The spatula trick will be especially useful. Does this course (class?) move in to fondant-type stuff? While I love watching the shows on Food Network, I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the actual taste of fondant but maybe you'll give some hints as to what to do about that.

  2. This particular course does not address fondant, though when I originally signed up I thought it did. That's actually not until course 3! I'm gonna see how the first course goes and then decide if I will sign up for #2 right away or take a little break...we'll see!

  3. Great icing tips. I took the Wilton classes too and I never learned that trick about the wax paper. I heard that you can use Viva paper towels to smooth icing but wax paper is so much more available.

    I took all of the classes and I wish there were more advanced classes to take now. If you want to see what you'll be able to do after these classes, check out my blog ( Have fun!